Alessia Cara released her EP “This Summer!” in September. In it, she stays true to her style of relaxed pop, which catches the listener’s attention and sways them to a catchy beat. At first glance, it’s an album that goes through the cycle of a classic summer romance. The six songs start off with Cara wanting a relationship and pining after the person of her affections and ends with a nostalgic reminiscent of the time she spent with her love interest. However, this is the only cue Cara takes from cliché storylines.
In her song “What’s On Your Mind?,” Cara immediately drops the trope of chase or be chased in favor of asking for a relationship on more equal ground. She is honest and upfront with her emotions and confronts her love interest with lines like, “How am I supposed to know what’s on your mind?/I’m tired of cracking codes/If you want me let me know.” She calls for open communication and trust in one another as the foundation for a relationship, rather than just the initial passion. In her songs “Ready” and “Like You,” she subverts another toxic trope — needing a relationship to fix your own issues. Instead, they promote having a healthy sense of self and self-confidence without relying on others’ validation.
Arguably the best song on the album, “OKAY OKAY” is a song for someone who is okay on their own. Relationships don’t always work out, and Cara puts emphasis on having a healthy platonic support system. With her friends, she creates an absolute bop that one can’t help but dance around to. It relies mainly on percussion and vocals, which makes it easy for people to interact by stomping, clapping or yelling the iconic phrase “On a scale of one to ten I’m at eleven OKAY OKAY.” Overall, it’s a very fun boost for anyone’s self confidence.
Finally, like the season itself, Cara’s summer relationships had to end. “Rooting for You” shows her disappointment. Written about a lost friendship, it works well with platonic and romantic strife.
The last song on the EP is the nostalgic melody of “October,” where Cara wishes her romance in summer never had to end. The track brings a soft close to the album and acceptance of the experiences Cara shared. “And we’re okay/we’ll live this way ’til it’s done/I’m gonna miss this when it’s over/I hope we never see October” highlights just how intimate and relatable her music is, especially in songs such as “Out of Love.”
“This Summer!” makes a huge impact on the listener despite only being six songs. The soft pop style sticks in one’s head without becoming a nuisance while her lyrics cater to a range of emotions that help listeners through a variety of struggles. It’s one of the most fun and most compelling albums from this past summer, and at least one of its songs should be in your future playlists.